From the "You Never Thought This Rule Would be Enforced" file, a violation by a member of the Broadneck (Md.) High School girls' swim team retroactively cost the team its county title and prevented the coach from watching the squad sweep regional titles last weekend. The infraction? Shaving at the meet.
The National Federation of State High School Associations prohibits participants in aquatic sports from shaving at the location of a meet. Many swimmers shave prior to a meet to gain a competitive edge in the water, but the NFHS's rule is meant as a health and safety precaution, limiting the likelihood of blood transmission or of team members sharing razors.
After it was discovered that one of Broadneck's swimmers had shaved at the meet, she was retroactively disqualified and all of her points redistributed to other competitors, a punishment many in the swimming world think was over the top, despite what the NFHS rules prescribe. "I'm not sure I've seen much of this type of punishment within the sport," commented Swimming World Magazine's Jason Marsteller in an e-mail to Yahoo's Prep Rally. "About the only place retroactive punishments happen is in the case of positive doping tests."
Broadneck's coach was also suspended as a result of the violation and forced to miss the regional championship meet, where her team - all properly shaved - persevered and won the title. "The coach violated a rule in the 2011-2012 AACPS Athletics Handbook that addresses a coach's responsibility to abide by the rules of the game and promote ethical relationships among coaches and players," explained a statement released by the Anne Arundel County Public Schools. "Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against the coach."